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Monday, August 22, 2016

In This Moment

I remember my first day of college as if it happened only last week.  The fluorescent lights of the hallway leading to the classroom made me feel exposed and vulnerable.  I closed my eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, drawing in a scent of new books mixed with old wood and a trace of all who had come before me.  I can feel the butterflies in my stomach as the classroom door came into sight, and I still don’t know if they were there because of tattered nerves or from pure excitement.  I settled into the third desk from the back on the left side of the room before I allowed myself to glance to the front of the room for my first peek at the instructor.  Dr. McCormick was a middle aged man with a friendly face that put me at ease enough to scan the rest of the room.  Most of the other students appeared as apprehensive about the moment as I, which made me more comfortable.  My nerves settled, and I began to feel something else.  It was a mixture of relief and joy that I was finally sitting in my first college class.  I was living the dream I’d carried for two years as I worked forty hours a week in a clothing factory to pay for the car that would grant me the freedom to make it to this moment.

Today is that first day for Patrick.  When I started homeschooling my kids eleven years ago, I could not fathom the thought of making it to this point.  Like with every stage of life, I felt as if I would be teaching them forever.  


Two years ago, when Madison started college, I had to learn to let her go.  I feared failure on my part in preparing her for what was to come.  Reluctantly, I did let her go, and she grew into a strong, independent young woman.  




Now I must do the same for Patrick and, on top of that, learn to live without him in our home.  Moving him into his dorm room opened up a vault of nostalgia for me.  I remember clearly the day I moved into my first dorm.  Coming from another town two years after all of my high school classmates started college, I was on my own.  I loaded everything that was precious and needed into my car and said goodbye to the small town in my rear view mirror.  I fell into the dorm community and college with ease and fell in love with my new life.  



This is what I hope for Patrick, even though his is not as complete a break from home as my own.  I’m looking forward to watching him evolve into what I have always known he would become—an independent, confident young man with goals and the courage to pursue them. 



I have always believed that, when the time came for my first child to move out, I would be able to endure it if I had no regrets looking back.  I can say with no reservations that I have no regrets where any of my children are concerned.  I have enjoyed them to the fullest and appreciated every moment with the knowledge that, while I felt I would have them here forever, they would eventually leave.  Having sisters with children older than my own helped me gain this perspective, and I am thankful for that.  Still, on quiet nights when all of the distractions of the day have quieted, I allow my mind to wander to those places that take hold of my heart and tug.  I fall asleep in a mangled web of sadness, joy, pain, and accomplishment but never regret.  I wake the next morning with my eyes forward.  Everything in my past has prepared me for this moment, and it is in this moment that life is real.        

1 Comments:

Anonymous Mimi (Ellerman) said...

Beautiful words!

9:04 PM  

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